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An embarrassment waiting to happen

india Updated: Sep 08, 2010 23:43 IST
HT Correspondent

In a first, the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) has declared the Delhi Commonwealth Games 2010 as a competition for achieving ‘Minimum Qualification Score (MQS)’ for the 2012 London Olympics.

“This is the first time when shooters participating in the Games will be awarded MQS for London,” said National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) acting president, Avtar Singh Sethi.

“Though shooters will have to earn quota places for their countries at World Cups and Asian Championships, but suppose the marksman who earns the quota is indisposed before the Olympics or is not in peak form, he can be replaced with someone who has shot an MQS score at the CWG,” said Sethi.

But the question is what impression will ISSF officials, who will be here during the CWG, take home given the fact that there are still a lot of technical glitches that need immediate attention before the Karni Singh Ranges can be termed world-class.

“Any ISSF official can challenge the technical measurements of the shotgun ranges, which will be very embarrassing for the country,” said an NRAI official. HT has a copy of the letter proving the fact.

The small-sized walls of the ‘houses’ in the shotgun ranges need rectification but for reasons best known to Sports Authority of India (SAI) officials, they are not going ahead.

“The long-term effect of shooting on the defective ranges will be detrimental to Indian marksmen because when they participate abroad, they would have got used to faulty ranges,” said another NRAI official.

A senior Commonwealth Games Organising Committee (OC) delegation, which included among others Indian Olympic Association secretary-general and OC vice-chairman, Randhir Singh, visited the ranges recently and reportedly asked SAI joint secretary (in-charge of venues), HS Kingra, to carry out the necessary changes. An unhappy Singh confirmed he had been at the range more than once.

“They have spent Rs 160 crore on the ranges and this is what they have created,” said a senior OC official, adding even if one international shooter raised the issue during the CWG, it would be a huge international embarrassment.

Range administrator and SAI deputy director, Manmeet Singh Goindi, who has been at the helm for over two years, disconnected the phone on Tuesday when HT sought his comments.

The range continues to be out of bounds for the India team and it’s unlikely the national camp — postponed on September 3 — will kick off on September 13, given the situation there.